January 30, 2009 / 1:38 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Gold to shine on TSX, data eyed

TORONTO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Toronto’s main stock market index could open higher on Friday as strong gold prices shine a spotlight on the resource-based index, but this could be offset by more worries over the health of the North American economy.

Gold rallied more than 2 percent in Europe to a three-month high, as investors once again sought the safety of bullion from volatility in other assets. [nLU140642]

Investors will also take time to digest readings on the gross domestic product due out in both Canada and the United states. Analysts, on average, expect Canada’s GDP to contract 0.4 month over month, providing more evidence that Canada has entered a recession. [nECICI]

Toronto’s main stock index .GSPTSE ended lower on Thursday, falling 1.6 percent, to 8,762.76, as nagging economic concerns hit weighty bank shares and lower oil prices rattled the energy group, forcing the TSX to undo nearly all its gains from the prior session. [ID:nN29315655]

Here is some of the news that may affect the index:

NORWAY OIL FUND EXPELS TEXTRON, BARRICK GOLD

Norway’s $300 billion plus sovereign wealth fund has excluded U.S. weapons producer Textron Inc (TXT.N) and Canadian mining group Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) for ethical reasons. [ID:nLU598315]

NORBORD Q4 RESULTS

Norbord Inc NBD.TO posted a steep fourth-quarter loss as lower production volumes and higher costs hit the specialty wood products company. [ID:nWNAB6179]

CANADA‘S WEST FRASER TO CUT LUMBER PRODUCTION

West Fraser Timber Co (WFT.TO) said on Thursday it would cut back production at several Canadian and U.S. sawmills because the collapse of the U.S. housing market has hurt demand for lumber. [ID:nN29328093]

NORTEL EXITS WIMAX BUSINESS, ALVARION DEAL

Nortel Networks Corp NT.TO, the ailing telecom equipment provider, has decided to abandon its WiMax wireless technology business as it restructures in bankruptcy protection. [ID:nN29310463]

BIG UTS SHAREHOLDERS DISMISS TOTAL OFFER

I.G. Investment Management, which holds about 22 million, UTS Energy Corp UTS.TO shares, will not tender its stake to French oil major Total SA’s (TOTF.PA) unsolicited bid of C$1.30 a share for the Canadian oil sands developer. [ID:nN29436061]

ZARLINK, SIERRA WIRELESS CUT JOBS AS ECONOMY DIVES

A pair of Canadian technology companies announced job cuts on Thursday as they try to rein in costs in the face of the economic downturn. [nN29319781]

Following is a summary of research on Canadian companies.

For more, please see [RCH/CA] [nBNG363332]:

*BMO STARTS METHANEX (MEOH.O) (MX.TO) WITH MARKET PERFORM RATING; TARGET PRICE OF $9

*DUNDEE STARTS YAMANA GOLD INC (YRI.TO) WITH BUY; PRICE TARGET OF C$13

*UBS CUTS POTASH CORP OF SASKATCHEWAN (POT.N) PRICE TARGET TO $95 FROM $97; RATING BUY

*RBC CUTS QUADRA MINING QUA.TO PRICE TARGET TO C$3.50 FROM C$4.40; RATING UNDERPERFORM

*RBC CUTS NOVA CHEMICALS NCX.N TO UNDERPERFORM FROM SECTOR PERFORM

*VERSANT PARTNERS CUTS BOMBARDIER (BBDb.TO) TO NEUTRAL FROM BUY; TARGET PRICE TO C$4.50 FROM C$6.50 ($1=$1.24 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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